Palmyra Township (Pike) is exploring how to regulate vacation home rentals and the difficulty enforcement may bring.
A proposed rental ordinance was discussed at a hearing held July 3rd just before the Supervisors' regular meeting. The issue has been put forward by the Supervisors due to occasional problems associated with homes being rented for the short term and neighbors disturbed by the noise and activity. At times in developments bordering or near Lake Wallenpaupack, big homes have been rented to groups who come to party, generating complaints to the Township.
The ordinance would require home owners to register as landlords and pay a one-time permit fee. A contact name and number would have to be supplied in case a problem with renters develops.
Attorney Jack Spall came to the hearing representing several homeowners who want to rent to vacationers. He asked that the ordinance not be so restrictive that it becomes difficult to sell the property. Buyers may want to have the option to rent out the house.
The Supervisors are looking for a balance, to encourage home owners to rent to responsible vacationers.
The question came up over how the ordinance would be enforced. Spall suggested that having a regular township code enforcement officer address issues may be too dangerous, unless the person had police training.
He suggested hiring part time officers only for weekend duty.
They could also be on an "as needed" basis.
Supervisor Eric Ehrhardt asked if off duty police officers could be hired, as was done at Wallenpaupack Area School District where one Hawley Policeman and three retired State Police were contracted. Solicitor Anthony Waldron said the where would be less problems if the Township shared someone else's force such as hiring Hawley Borough officers.
Waldron said it may be better to contract from another police department. Township residents may start asking for more police hours but until such a time the Township will need more, it is better to rely on the limited hours a contracted, "borrowed" force could offer. Waldron offered to ask Hawley Mayor Kevin Hawk to see if there was any interest.
Ehrhardt said it is better to have other alternatives if it did not work out contracting Hawley Police.
The Supervisors tabled any action on the ordinance until after those who attended the hearing submit their comments in writing.
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